Picture of Blake More
multiple adjectives
by Blake More - Friday, 16 September 2011, 06:29 PM

It is my hope that some kind soul will explain this to me or refer me to a good Greek grammar book or otherwise set me right. The sentence below comes from a newspaper clipping on the occasion of Constantine Cavarnos's death. The language names are adjectives, I assume, and they all modify the word meaning language(s) but this noun is in the singular form (as are all the adjectives) whereas I would expect it to be plural since there are several languages as indicated by the pile-up of adjectives. My question is, is this the normal, ordinary, common way of expressing this idea in Greek?

Γνώριζε απαίστως την ελληνικί, αγγλικί, γαλλικί, αρχαία ελληνικί και την λατινικί γλώσσα.

Good wishes,

Blake More

Picture of Greg Brush
Re: multiple adjectives
by Greg Brush - Saturday, 17 September 2011, 11:44 AM
  First of all, note that:
1) all these adjectives are feminine and thus end not with -ί, but with the feminine ending -ή.
2) the adverb is spelled απταίστως, "fluently", from the adjective άπταιστος, -η, -ο, "fluent".

As to your question, this is a simple matter of adjective-noun agreement, since adjectives must always grammatically agree with their noun, in this instance the feminine noun γλώσσα. The sentence as given is essentially just the normal simplification or truncation of having to repeat γλώσσα each time:
Γνώριζε απταίστως την Ελληνική Γλώσσα, [την] Αγγλική Γλώσσα, [την] Γαλλική Γλώσσα, [την] Αρχαία Ελληνική Γλώσσα και την Λατινική Γλώσσα. = He knew the Greek language, English language, French language, Ancient Greek language, and Latin language fluently.

Γνώριζε απταίστως την Ελληνική, Αγγλική, Γαλλική, Αρχαία Ελληνική και την Λατινική Γλώσσα. = He knew the Greek, English, French, Ancient Greek, and Latin language fluently.

The sentence could also be rephrased by using the language names themselves, i.e., without using γλώσσα:
Γνώριζε απταίστως τα Ελληνικά, Αγγλικά, Γαλλικά, Αρχαία Ελληνικά και τα Λατινικά. = He knew Greek, English, French, Ancient Greek, and Latin fluently.

Hope this helps,
Greg Brush
Picture of Blake More
Re: multiple adjectives
by Blake More - Saturday, 17 September 2011, 11:52 AM
  Greg Brush............Sure it helps, of course it helps. For my purposes the word truncation in your answer is key. Thanks muchly.            BM